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Four Chief Executive candidates vying for Butte voters' support in June election

Posted at 9:04 PM, May 31, 2024

BUTTE — In Butte’s June 4 primary election, the most contested race is that of chief executive. I talked to all four candidates who are jockeying for your vote.

Rayelynn Brandl is a Butte native and MSU graduate who has served as a trustee for the Butte School District. She is executive director of Ripple: The Center for Education and Ecosystem Studies at Montana Tech that focuses on watershed science for restoring local state waterways.

“And my track record speaks for itself in terms of getting a lot of things done with little bit of resources. And I also have the greatest ideas and the best vision for our community. I’m a person that brings people together, I have a positive attitude and I’m ready to do the work, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get the work done,” said Brandl.

Bill Foley also is a Butte native and a newcomer to politics. The University of Montana graduate has worked for a long time in sports journalism and currently runs the podcast He joined the race over concerns about Butte’s Superfund cleanup.

“You approach the county government about anything, you get a combination of hostility and buck-passing, it’s somebody else’s problem. We need to open the government up, we need to have transparency, we need accountability, we need public participation. Because the government should run from the ground up, not the top down, and right now we have the exact opposite,” said Foley.

First-term incumbent J.P. Gallagher is a Navy veteran and graduate of Montana Western. He returned to his native Butte to pursue a career in education. Gallagher believes his experience and role in improving Butte’s economy during his four years as chief executive deserves a second term.

“We’ve been bringing companies in, we have a ton of construction happening within the community, over $400 million over the last three years and that’s not including the new construction that’s coming forward with the mall now being bought and then the new development that’s going to go there, the Cornerstone Plaza that’s happening there,” said Gallagher.

Cathy “Moe” Goodwin is new to politics but says her experience in business would make her ideal for the job of chief executive. The Butte High graduate started her own cleaning business in 1996 and manages Air Exchange Oxygen in Butte. If elected, she will work with community members and will have well-organized plans to solve Butte’s challenges.

“There needs to be communication, collaboration, and a plan, a maintenance plan, quality improvement plan—these are things that if we address the problems, like our infrastructure and have a maintenance plan and a quality improvement plan then we won’t have the big problems any more,” said Goodwin.